Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Happy Easter!

Hi everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter! Full of plastic eggs, chocolate, but I hope it was also filled with the Spirit. This is an amazing time of year and I hope you were all able to learn more about it and experience the absolute joy that it brings. The Atonement of Jesus Christ makes Salvation possible. The Plan of Salvation, living with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ again and progressing to be more like them, alongside our families, that is all possible because Jesus Christ came to earth, suffered for each and every one of us more personally than we can even grasp, and then He conquered death. As people came looking for His body, we got to hear the magnificent phrase "He is not here, for He is Risen." I LOVE THAT!  That is knowledge to keep with us daily, not just around the time of Easter. Christ said "I will not forget thee, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hand." Don't forget Him.

So last Monday we had a great experience. So in an effort to reach out to more people and find those people who the Lord has prepared for us to teach, those who are searching for the truthfulness of the gospel, we do this thing called contacting. It's where we go to different places-stores, walk the streets, ect.- and we just start talking to people and offer them pass along cards. Cards with a picture of Christ and the mormon.org site listed, as well as our number and the time and address for church. We've hit the same places a few times, so occasionally we run into the same people. Last Monday we were prompted to go into PetSmart and it was our last stop around 8:30 pm. As soon as we walked in this guy was like "Mormons!" And began to tell us how he did a report on the LDS Church in college and wants to learn more. He is the coolest guy ever, his name is Bradley. We'd been in PetSmart before and left a pass along card with another employee. He told us last Monday that he was wanting to call us, but by the time he finally went for the card it had disappeared. He told us he had just been waiting for us to come back in. The night before he had been praying, telling Heavenly Father he needed help and he needed to find truth. Us walking in was his answer. We've already met with him twice and I feel like I've known him forever, nicest guy. He takes notes during the lessons and said he didn't want to read too far in the Book of Mormon because he didn't want to take away anything that we were going to teach. Hahaha. This guy is solid. We use some amazing pictures that are in our pamphlets to teach and he has a different view of certain things, but a good different. He says some pretty profound things and we're just all learning from each other. I wish you could all meet him, we'll for sure get a picture at his baptism and I'll send that home to you all. He should be baptized in May, so hopefully I'm still here! We will find out May 10th who is getting transferred. We want him to get baptized on the 10th but that may not happen because right now he is working on Sundays and he has to attend church a few times before getting baptized. 

Bradley started off our week on an awesome note, but it kind of went down from there. I talked a lot about Shaquille in my first few emails, how awesome he was and how I thought he'd recognize God more in his life and he would just be set. We did talk to him a few days ago though and things didn't go so well. He told us he didn't think we were doing anything as missionaries; that we weren't making a difference in anyone's life or helping anyone. That makes you look at people like Bradley and be like alright...God's using me to answer their prayers but whatever. So anyway, Shaquille kind of trashed our mission and is trying to get us to see "his side" that our beliefs are wrong and Heavenly Father doesn't answer prayers and the Bible isn't true and what not. He denied God, Jesus Christ, and us as representatives of Jesus Christ. Honestly I just feel bad for him. Everything he said only made my testimony grow stronger because I know without a doubt in my mind that our Heavenly Father lives and that He does answer our prayers, every one of them. This week has been full of Him answering my prayers. I know that Jesus Christ lives as well, that He died for me personally and because He did that, knows exactly how to help me through the hard times. I know that when it's too hard to stand, I can kneel. I know that when I can no longer walk on my own, that Jesus Christ will carry me. I KNOW that. And my heart is filled with sorrow that Shaquille refuses to acknowledge and try to believe that. He thinks faith and religion is just something for people to hang onto because they need something. They don't want to be bored. That is not the reason at all. It pains me to see Shaquille think he can do everything on his own. One day he will stand accountable for all of this, and I will probably sob as I tell him I tried my hardest to help. It is true, that no one can argue with your testimony because it is in fact YOURS, but there is pain when people deny your testimony because they are in turn denying Jesus Christ. Having a broader view of what consequences will be for the choices people make is what makes being a missionary so hard. I know exactly where they can find and enjoy true peace, joy and happiness but they are choosing not to have it. It's a small taste of what Heavenly Father feels I'm sure. Yet, just like I have chosen to do with people here, He still loves us infinitely. Never stop loving someone. You never know when they may choose to accept it.

I have to run, but I hope you all have a magnificent week! I hope you are all doing well and I love you tons! "DON'T QUIT" Don't Quit=DO IT! :)

All my love,
Sister Applegate

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